PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - In the TV room of his Plainfield Township home -- some 200 feet from the Rockford city limit -- Tom Oosdyke's heart failed.
His wife said it was a heart of gold.
"He said his heart was pounding, and I felt his wrist, and he was clammy," his wife, Linda Oosdyke said.
She called 911: "I believe my husband is having a heart attack."
But, instead of sending the Rockford Fire Department -- from a station 1.1 miles away -- dispatchers sent Plainfield Township firefighters, from more than six miles away.
A potentially life-saving trip that should have taken less than 3 minutes, took 10 minutes -- all because of a jurisdictional line.
Tom Oosdyke, 72, died before rescuers arrived.
"Why should my husband die because I live over the city limits?" Linda Oosdyke asked.
Watch Part 2 of Ken Kolker's Target 8 investigation Friday during 24 Hour News 8 at 6 .
Kent County emergency medical coordinators say the case could help lead to changes in how rescuers respond to serious emergencies.
Rockford Fire Lt. Robert Berkstresser was on duty that night -- Jan. 2, 2012, just after 6:30. He is fully trained, fully equipped, to save lives. He carries a LifePak defibrillator on Rockford's Fire Rescue rig.
A defibrillator helps re-start the heart. But the American Heart Association says this has to happen within 4 to 6 minutes.
"Every minute counts when it comes to a Class 1, or a cardiac arrest," Berkstresser said. "Every minute counts. If we can get there at least before 3 to 4 minutes, the chances of survival are much greater."
When asked if he could have gotten there in three minutes, he said, "Yeah, oh yeah. Probably sooner. Probably sooner."
Instead, Linda Oosdyke waited -- and waited -- for help for the man she married 13 years ago.
"He was a big teddy bear, but gruff," she said. "People would assume he was gruff, but deep down, he had a heart of gold."
He was a retired machine worker, a father of five. Just 72. And, a doting husband.
"In 13 years, I haven't filled my own gas tank," she said.
Linda Oosdyke is trained in CPR and knew what to do -- and a Rockford Ambulance dispatcher gave her instructions over the phone as she waited for rescuers.
"Oh my God, where are you? Where are you?" she recalled saying. "And then I'd do some more compressions and I'd pick up the phone again and say, you have to get here, you have to get here."
Then -- several minutes before rescuers arrived -- she felt the life leave her husband.
"My God, my God, he's dying, he's dying," she told the dispatcher.
Plainfield's response time -- 9-and-a-half minutes -- is well above its average of nearly 6-and-a-half minutes for medical first response.
And it's well above Rockford's average: 3.3 minutes.
"They did their best," Oosdyke said of the Plainfield firefighters. "Once they got here, they did everything they could, which was nothing."
So, what is it that kept dispatchers from sending that Rockford firefighter from a mile away?
An imaginary dotted line on a map.
The end of the Oosdykes' driveway is 75 yards from a fence that is along the Rockford city limit. If they had lived on the other side of that fence, lifesaving help would have arrived much sooner.
Plainfield Fire Chief David Peterson says his lieutenant on duty that night considered asking Rockford for help.
"He said, 'I thought about that,' but it's not true mutual aid, that's not what our mutual aid contract says --that someone will respond when you don't have resources available," Peterson said. "Well, we had resources available."
"The problem becomes if you don't follow the protocols and you make a mistake, you leave yourself open for litigation."
Kent County EMS -- which oversees emergency medical response in the county -- reviewed the case after Target 8 brought it to their attention.
They say it appears everybody -- dispatchers, firefighters -- did everything by the book.
Meaning, they say, the book needs re-writing.
"Absolutely, jurisdictional lines should not matter," said Kent EMS Executive Director Mic Gunderson.
Linda Oosdyke says she hopes her husband's death leads to change.
"It makes me angry that because of a boundary line that people have to suffer and die," she said.
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